• By The Financial District


On the last day of September, two young girls jumped to their death from the roof of a hotel in central Japan. One of the girls, an 18-year-old former member of a minor idol group, had caused a stir on social media just days before with a post that alluded to suicide due to cyberbullying.

Frequently posting on social media under the name Noa Tsukino, the girl was known in some circles among the youth of Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, where the incident occurred. Posts she had made in September expressing a desire to end her life had received toxic comments, including one which said, "You are just faking it," Kyodo news agency reported.

Calls for legal changes regarding cyberbullying in Japan have been growing after Hana Kimura, 22, a cast member of the popular Netflix reality show "Terrace House," was found dead in a suspected suicide in May after becoming a target of hateful messages on social media.

On Sept. 27, Tsukino left a final message in response to the abusive commenter, in which she thanked her friends and other loved ones, and confirmed her decision to end her life, saying, "The next thing I'll do is make sure I die."

Tsukino committed suicide in busy downtown Nagoya on Sept. 30 with a female friend. In a suicide note, she indicated that cyberbullying had made her choose to give up on living. On Oct. 1, shortly after media reported on the incident, Tsukino's mother confirmed her daughter's death. The news was met with an outpouring of anguish among young people online, many of whom lamented about why she could not have been saved. Netizens soon directed their fury at those who had criticized Tsukino, in particular the commenter who had called her a "faker" on Twitter. The comment was subsequently deleted.